Desperate times calls for desperate measures as China calls on retired People's Liberation Army to work at Foxconn's iPhone Plant
It's being reported today that a Chinese county is rallying retired People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel to come work at the world’s largest iPhone factory, operated by Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group, in the latest sign of how much local authorities are scrambling to restore production at the facility in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province.
The veteran affairs bureau in Changge, a county with a population of 710,000 under the administration of the city of Xuchang in Henan, on Tuesday posted an open letter urging retired PLA personnel to “answer the government’s call” and “take part in the resumption of production” at Foxconn’s manufacturing complex in Zhengzhou. The letter suggested that they “show up where there’s a need."
That call formed part of a provincewide campaign by local authorities in Henan to help recruit fresh assembly line workers for Foxconn’s Zhengzhou compound, where tens of thousands of panicked workers have fled since late October to earlier this month because of a Covid-19 outbreak. The Changge veteran affairs bureau’s open letter was later removed without explanation from its official channel on social media platform WeChat.
Henan authorities have started mobilizing its grass-roots governance system to help recruit new workers for the Foxconn facility, the South China Morning Post reported last Friday, after that compound and surrounding areas in Zhengzhou remained under lockdown, which prompted Apple last week to warn of a slowdown in shipments of its popular iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models during the holiday shopping season.
Local authorities have also encouraged cadres in the cities of Kaifeng and Jiyuan in Henan to “form teams” that would work at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou facility for at least a month, according to a report by the Shanghai Securities Journal, a state-owned daily newspaper.
It is important for Henan to help restore normal production “as quickly as possible” at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou complex to help secure its role in Apple’s supply chain and protect the local economy, according to Mei Xinyu, a researcher affiliated with China’s Ministry of Commerce. For more, read the full South China Morning Post report.
Back in 2016 Patently Apple posted two reports on Foxconn's move into using robots in production (01 and 02). Just about now, Foxconn must be thinking that they need to push their robotics agenda forward where COVID-19 won't be able to shut down their plants in the future.
Last month, Elon Musk's Tesla AI Day 2022 introduced the 'Optimus' robot that Musk stated would be ready for delivery within the next five years.
With Apple using robots to dissemble iPhones, I'm sure that robots making iPhones is definitely on the Horizon.